A poor economy isn't helping the U.S. Census recruit workers for the 2010 count.
Census office manager Rick Freimuth in St. Paul says he needs to test about 8,000 people for full and part-time jobs taking the census. His office will count the population of Minnesota's southern half.
Freimuth says he's behind schedule, having tested about 1,000 so far.
"We're not even scratching the surface yet for the number of people we need," said Freimuth.
It's also slow going in the Duluth office, which coordinates the count across northern Minnesota.
Office manager Ken Falk is trying to fill more than 2,200 jobs across the northern half of Minnesota. Falk says he's surprised how tough it's been getting people to take the qualification test.
"I think what's happening to some extent is people that do have work right now are very nervous about trying to do anything else that may interfere with that work, because jobs are kind of unstable," said Falk. "Maybe people aren't looking for additional work, because they don't want to jeopardize what they have."
Falk says he's only gotten 800 people tested, about half what he expected at this point.
So far, he says, they've had a good response from unemployed people. But they're not seeing some potential part-time workers such as retirees or teachers, who can earn a second income with flexible hours.
Both managers say they're surprised the economy hasn't produced a bigger pool of interested applicants.